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With the departure of Brett Favre to the Jets, the NFC North is as wide open as it has been in years. Any team outside of the Lions has a chance to win the division in what should be a wild 2008 season.

Note: Teams listed in predicted order of finish

Minnesota Vikings

Now with the trade acquisition of DE Jared Allen, the Vikings feature the best defensive line in football. Allen along with DT’s Pat Williams and Kevin Williams will give the Vikings an outstanding blend of both the ability to put pressure on the QB and to stop the run.

The only question will be can the Vikings score? With no real true threat at WR and the inexperienced Tarvaris Jackson at QB, the Vikings will suffer many frustrating possessions this year.

The good news is they have a man child in the backfield in Adrian Peterson who has the ability to carry an offense and win games by himself. While this scenario seems all fine and dandy, it is only a matter of time before coordinators put everyone in the box to take away Peterson. When this happens, it will all be on Jackson’s shoulders. And depending upon how he handles it, will determine how far this Viking team can go in 2008. 

Predicted Record: 10-6

Playoffs: Yes

Green Bay Packers

With the off-season Brett Favre soap opera now behind them, the Packers can finally focus on football.

And while the media will never let it completely end, expect the Packers to continue to silence their critics. QB Aaron Rodgers has to be commended with how he has handled himself throughout the entire process. Consequently, this has resulted in Rodgers gaining the support of his teammates and this will go a long way to his maturation as a QB.

Rodgers in combination with a very good young defense will be in the hunt for the division title. However, I see just a game being the difference between the Vikings and Packers with the Packers being on the short side in the end.

Predicted Record: 9-7

Playoffs: No

Chicago Bears

After a disappointing 7-9 season in 2007, the Bears are looking to redeem themselves in the competitive NFC North this season.

But with a QB controversy and no play makers at receiver, the Bears will struggle to score unless their defense or special teams (Devin Hester) puts them in good position. RB Matt Forte will be an upgrade over Cedric Benson, but until the Bears draft or trade for a true QB and more talent at receiver, they will just be mediocre at best.

Predicted Record: 9-7

Playoffs: No

Detroit Lions

There is no question that Detroit has one of the best young offenses in the league with rookie RB Kevin Smith who led the nation in rushing last year and the two physical freaks in WR’s Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson. But when you can not stop anybody defensively and lack a winning attitude on the team, the Lions will never be able to get over the hump. 

Predicted Record: 3-13

Playoffs: No

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